THE DON’TS: Home Buying Deal Killers

Buying a home is very exciting. However, nothing can be a bigger disappointment than finding out that your loan is denied before you are about to close your transaction!

Bill Nickerson
Bill Nickerson

 You’re a week away from having the keys to your new home and your loan officer calls to let you know that your loan was denied due to a change in your profile. This can and does happen often. But there are a few things that you can do to make sure that this won’t happen to you.

Keep the following points in mind while you are in the process of buying your home:

Don’t Apply for New Credit of Any Kind.  Don’t respond to any invitations to apply for new lines of credit and don’t establish new lines of credits for furniture, appliances, computers, department stores etc.  Even if there are no payments for 12 months, we will need to count this debt against you.  This will also have an adverse effect on your credit score.  Wait until your loan closes to purchase items for yourself and new home.

Don’t Max Out or Over Charge on Existing Credit Cards. Running up your credit cards is the fastest way to bring your score down.  Once you have engaged in the loan process, try to keep your credit card balances to below 30% of the available limit.

Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts. If you close a credit card account, it can negatively affect your ratio of debt to available credit.  If you really want to close an account, wait until after you close the loan.

Don’t Raise Red Flags to the Underwriter. Don’t change your name and address and don’t co-sign on another person’s loan. The less activity that occurs while your loan is in process; the better it is for you.

Don’t Make Large Unexplainable Deposits Into Bank Accounts. Deposit amounts into your bank accounts that do not match your past history will be questioned by an underwriter unless the deposit is documented as a gift or can be explained.  This includes cash deposits and moving funds from one account to another.

Don’t Make Changes to Your Employment/Income. Employment stability is a huge factor in the underwriting loan process.  Quitting or changing jobs or even moving positions within the same company can greatly endanger your loan approval.  Inform your loan officer immediately of any changes to your job, position or income.

Your Down Payment:  Do you have your down payment all set? Is it in one account?  Have this prepared before you purchase your home.  Whether it is gift funds, liquidation of your retirement or moving funds from one account to another.  By having these funds all in one account, it will simplify the process.  If you receive a Gift, let’s say for $1,000 from family, Don’t deposit $900 or $1100, as this will be hard to explain why the amount is different from the Gift amount.

Bottom Line: Don’t Make Any Adjustments/Transfers in Your Asset Picture. Talk to your Loan Officer first.  Don’t make any changes in investments, move positions, close accounts, open new accounts, or substantially alter your asset picture.

Send me an email or call with any questions you may you have.  Cell phone is 978-273-3227 and email me at wnickerson@primelending.com.

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Can I give you a Piggy Back?

Whether you call them Piggy Back Loans, Blended Mortgages, A first and second, 80-10-10, these loans are extremely helpful in avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Piggy Back

The Piggy Back

When you have less than 20% to put down on a home, you are charged Private Mortgage Insurance, this added cost is based on the actual down payment as well as your credit score and in some cases can be in the hundreds of dollars per month.   Several years ago, many banks, lenders and mortgage companies created a program that would allow having a first and second mortgage to avoid the high cost of mortgage insurance.  At the end of the Housing Bubble, many banks, lenders and mortgage companies went out of business, these second mortgage and lines of credit nearly disappeared.  They were still available, they were just really hard to find.

Based on your purchase price, you would take out a first mortgage in the amount of 80% of the price and a second loan in the amount of 10%.  You would still be borrowing 90% of the purchase price (10% down payment).  In doing so, you have lowered the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of a first position mortgage to under 80%, thereby eliminating the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Example: Here is a comparison of using the Piggy Back Mortgage versus a mortgage with PMI.  This is based on a purchase price of $400,000 with 10% down on a single family home and assuming a credit score of 740 or greater.

Without the Piggy-Back:  You would have a first mortgage of $360,000, using a mortgage rate of 4.5% on a 30 year fixed.  This would give you a mortgage payment with PMI in the amount of $1,980.07.  $156 of this payment would be PMI.  PMI payments do vary based on the actual down payment as well as the credit score of the borrower, but this will give you a good idea of what the payment would be.

With a Piggy-Back loan using the same purchase price.  In this example you would have a first mortgage in the amount of 80% of the purchase price, $320,000 and a second mortgage in the amount of $40,000.  The second mortgage can also be a line of credit and in both cases the second mortgage rates is typically higher.  Using a rate of 6.00% for the second, this gives you a total mortgage payment of $1,861.21.  This is a total savings of $118.86 per month.  This is a conservative estimate.

Word of caution, the savings can be in the hundreds, most of these piggy-backs are in the form of a Line of Credit (home equity line of credit) and are adjustable rate products.  Even though the rates are still at all-time lows, these lines of credit will only go up in rate in the future and could become more costly than the having the mortgage insurance.  When obtaining a piggy-back mortgage, you really need to have a strong financial plan of how you can pay off the second loan sooner rather than later in order to take full advantage of the savings.

For more information in regards to Piggy Back mortgages and other programs that eliminate mortgage insurance, feel free to call or email me anytime.

Bill Nickerson -NMLS #4194  978-273-3227 cell

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How an Adjustable Rate Mortgage Works

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage is a mortgage loan with the interest rate on the note periodically adjusted based on an index which reflects the cost to the lender of borrowing on the credit markets.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM’s) come in many different varieties.  The most common ARM’s are the following:  One Year, Three Year, Five Year, Seven Year and a Ten Year.  You will also see them displayed in this format as well: 1/1, 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1.  The first number represents the amount of years the loan will be fixed for and will not change from its original start rate.  The higher the first number or term, the higher the interest rate will be.

The second number represents how often the ARM will adjust after the fixed rate term ends.  Using a 5/1 ARM as the example, when your fixed term is about to expire. The Lender will send you a notice via mail notifying that your rate is about to adjust and what that adjustment will be.  This will occur 45 days prior to this expiration date, in this case that would be 60 months of this loan (5 Years). The new rate will be set for one year, or the term that is stated in the second number, 5/1.

The adjustments are based on 2 variables, the index and the margin.  The margin is set on the day you get the mortgage and is usually in the range of 2.25 or 2.75 depending upon the type of ARM you go with.  This will never change and is set for the life of the loan.  We would then add the current Index to this margin and combined that would create your new rate.

The Index can come from many places but is selected when we lock in your loan.  Typically we use the One Year Treasury Bill or the One Year LIBOR.  Both indexes move fairly slow and steady.  These Indexes are always posted in the Wall Street Journal but is very easy just to Google these terms. This will show you the current rate as well as show the history of these rates. You can also click this site at the US Treasury

Today’s one year treasury is at .13, this is the index.  Add this to the 2.5, the margin and your new rate today would be 2.63. This rate would be rounded up to the next highest 1/8th and this would give us 2.750% for one year.

Caps: Your loan comes with caps of 5/2/5, each number represents how your loan will adjust.  The first adjustment the loan can adjust 5% up or down from the original start rate, the second number “2” is what it can adjust each time for the remaining years of the loan.  So, the second adjustment and everyone after that the rate can move up or down a maximum of 2%.  The last number is the Life Cap.  The rate will never go higher than 5% of the starting rate.  So if you lock in a rate of 3.25% today, your rate would never exceed 8.25%.  To give you an idea, since 1996, this rate has not exceeded 8.25% at its high point. In the last several years, this rate as adjusted downward and as low as 2.00% in many cases.

I hope this is helpful and always feel free to ask questions about any of this information. Feel free to email me at Bill@billnickerson.com or call 978-273-3227.

Thank you very much,

Bill Nickerson NMLS# 4194

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The Good Faith Estimate

gfeA good faith estimate (GFE) must be provided by a mortgage lender or broker in the United States to a customer.  The estimate must include an itemized list of fees and costs associated with the loan and must be provided within three business days of applying for a loan.  These mortgage fees, closing costs and pre-paid items cover every expense associated with a home loan from legal fees, recording fees, title insurance, taxes and other charges.  A good faith estimate is a standard form which is intended to be used to compare different offers (or quotes) from different lenders or brokers.

The good faith estimate is only an estimate. The final closing costs may be different; however the difference can only be 10% of the third party fees.  Once a good faith estimate is issued the lender/broker cannot change the fees in the origination box.

It is important to look at everything that is listed, but it is especially important to see if additional costs are being built in such as Points, Broker Fees or high Administrative fees.  In all, a consumer should look at the bottom line number of the cost;  one, to make sure it is affordable to them and two, to be sure the costs are accurate and not over inflated in any way.  Click for more details about closing costs.

For more information about the good faith estimates or if you have questions regarding other home financing, please email me at bill@billnickerson.com or call me at 978-273-3227

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Lock and Shop and Re-Lock!

question manWhat if I were to tell you that I have a special mortgage program??

What if I were to tell you I have some of the best mortgage rates??

What if I were to tell you I have very competitive closing costs??

Yup…ordinary, just like all the other mortgage companies, banks, credit unions etc!  Pretty dull and boring when it comes right down to it.

Percent Down

Relock Today!

But what if I were tell you that you could lock your mortgage rate in at todays rate and if the rate drops during the process of your mortgage, you could re-lock to the lower rate.  And…It’s FREE!!  Yes, FREE!  No additional premiums, no inflated start rate and it’s offered on fixed rate mortgages.

Buying new construction or Building a new home?  These homes can typically take 3 to 6 months to complete.  In this volatile market of rates changing daily, you can lock in your mortgage rate for 180 days and if the rates drop, you can take advantage of the lower rates.  This allows you the security locking and peace of mind knowing you can still float your mortgage rate down.

But Wait!!!  There’s more!!!  What if you don’t have a signed offer on hand or have even identified a home?  How about if I told you that you could LOCK into a mortgage rate while you were shopping for homes.  This allows you focus on your new home and not have to worry about the markets and at what point rates will move.

This is for fixed rates mortgages up to $417,000.  Don’t be fooled by other lenders that offer these programs and then require you to use an Adjustable Rate or charge you a premium.    I have attached a flyer so that you can share this great program with your friends, clients, builders and whom ever may be in the market.

Click here for your own Float Down Flyer: Float Down

You must have applied for a mortgage through Bill Nickerson and PrimeLending.  You must meet Fannie Mae guidelines and be approved for a mortgage. This article is not a commitment to lend nor does it guarantee the program without first verifying credit, income and all financial documents.  Please call me at 978-273-3227 or wnickerson@primelending.com to see if you qualify for a mortgage today.

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Home Buying Checklist

shopping for a houseHave you ever been out looking at houses to buy and found that after about the 5th or 6th house, they all start to blend together?  You can’t remember the individual features of each house…what you liked and didn’t like about each of them.  Looking at houses can be a fun but a daunting experience.  One can get easily tired and overwhelmed.  To help with your house hunting process, please take a look at my home buying checklist.  Print some copies to take with you when house shopping.  I’m sure you will find it a helpful tool!

Bill’s Homebuying Checklist

Print off as many as you would like!!

For questions regarding home financing or the economy, please email me at bill@billnickerson.com  or call me at 978-273-3227

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How to Shop for a Mortgage

After hitting record lows of 3.250% last year, mortgage rates have inched up a little and in the grand scheme of things…it is only a little!  The trend of course is upwards and like the stock market, it is not a straight line up, we have good days and bad days in the markets and Mortgage Rates can sometimes and do change a few times inside a trading day. These rate changes are influenced by the global economy and while rates are still extremely low, refinancers and homebuyers are always looking for the lowest. Rates trade in real-time and react to each little development. But these lows come and go in minutes during specific trading intervals each trading day. And this kind of volatility drastically changes the way consumers should shop for a mortgage.  Because markets move up and down so fast right now, the rates you see in mainstream media* headlines are long gone by the time you can do anything about it.

SO HERE’S HOW TO SHOP FOR A MORTGAGE IN THIS NEW WORLD.

Shop For Loan Agents, Not Rates

Every consumer shops for mortgages and they should. But this is the critical distinction: you should be shopping for the best mortgage advisor. If you have that, you’ll get the best rate.

Here’s what happens when shoppers focused only on rate get quoted by a good loan agent: Loan agent quotes a rate only after they’ve analyzed the client’s entire financial profile and analyzed their home’s value and condition—also known as pre-approving them. The client will either tire of the pre-approval analytics or be unhappy with the rate and go somewhere else. Then 80% of those cases come back to that loan agent because the competing rate quote was revealed to be incorrect when the other lender actually completed the client’s profile, or the home’s value/condition made the loan ineligible.

Mortgages are extremely competitive so rates and fees are generally the same with most (established, credible) lending firms.  What’s not the same lender to lender is the loan agent’s ability to: (1) advise properly, (2) analyze borrower and property profiles, and (3) close with no surprises. So shop to find the lender and loan agent you feel most confident can perform on these three things. Then work with that loan agent to pick a rate target you can’t or won’t go above, and give them a standing order to lock when they see it.

These guidelines are for refinancers. For homebuyers, you can’t lock a rate until you’re in contract to buy a home, but once you’re in contract, the same approach applies.

Rate Targeting

Their are two reasons for the pre-approval and rate targeting tactics discussed above:

(1) A rate quote that flies through the air means nothing. If a loan agent doesn’t issue you written terms after obtaining a full profile on you and your home, then you haven’t received a quote you can count on.

(2) Rate lows are here and gone in minutes each trading day as mortgage bonds rise and fall on economic and technical trading signals. So if you don’t first get pre-approved then set a rate target with a standing lock order, it’s nearly impossible to hit the lows AND close with no surprises.  Your loan agent also must be able to brief you daily or weekly on the market outlook, so if you’re not sensing market competence from your agent, then keep shopping. A loan agent must have a strong read on what’s impacting the rate market ups and downs to deliver you the best terms.

*Mainstream media is almost always off the mark on rate data and commentary. Conversely, Mortgage News Daily strives to provide accurate and realistic rate data and commentary daily. Still, the premise of this piece is to explain what a mortgage consumer must do to manage extreme rate volatility.

Do you have any questions?  Feel free to call or email anytime!!

Bill Nickerson can be reached at 978-273-3227 and email at bill@billnickerson.com

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Mortgage Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

In Today’s Mortgage World, it is more important than ever to have an actual Approval in hand when shopping for a home.  An actual approval may take a few days, even a week, but I assure you, your Realtor with thank you and the process will  be much smoother.

Pre-Qualification

A mortgage loan pre-qualification is an estimate of how much house you can afford and how much money a lender would be willing to loan you.  The best time to get pre-qualified is right before you start looking at homes.  This way you can focus on looking at houses that are within your price range.  By providing a loan officer with your income, assets, debts, and a potential down payment amount, he would then be able to give you a ballpark figure of how much he thinks you could afford to pay for a monthly mortgage.  There is no cost to this service and no commitment is required.  This estimate is a helpful tool to you in figuring out if buying a home is a viable option, and if so, what your price range would probably be. A pre-qualification is only an estimate to give you a range of home prices and in no way is a commitment to lend on a home.

Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved means that you have a tentative written commitment from a lender for mortgage funding.  In the pre-approval process, you provide a loan officer with actual documentation of your income, assets, and debts.   The Loan Officer is submitting this as if it is an actual loan and a property has been identified.  This will be reviewed by the lenders underwriting team.  The lender will run a credit check and verify all your employment and financial information. Once the final approval comes in, the lender will give you a letter of commitment stating how much money the bank is willing to loan you for a home purchase. Having a certified pre-approval in hand when you start house hunting lets real estate agents and sellers know you are serious about buying when they see you have your mortgage funding in place.  By having your funding in place, it becomes an extreme advantage over other buyers when it comes to negotiating your home purchase as your offer will stand above the rest and you will be able to close in a much shorter time period.closing-costs guy

It is important to note that a pre-approval and a pre-commitment is still subject to further review as any loan is.  As variables change in lending or in the borrowers financial picture, additional items may be required. In addition to the financial commitment, the lender will also need to verify the property appraisal and title search.

Bottom Line:     

Pre-Qualification is an estimate of a price range of what you can afford.     Pre-Approval is a verified commitment from the bank stating how much money it will loan you. Make sure your Pre-Approval is an actual commitment from the bank as opposed to a Loan Officer just doing a quick credit check.

For More Information about Loan Approvals, Loan Programs and mortgages that are best suited to your financial needs, contact me anytime

http://www.billnickerson.com

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What are Closing Costs?

Originally posted on Bill's Mortgage Information:

Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For buyers in Massachusetts, closing costs will come to about $2600 plus lenders title insurance and any pre-paid items such as real estate taxes, insurance and interest. Empty Piggy Bank

There may be closing costs customary or unique to a certain locality, but closing costs are usually made up of the following:

Third Party Fees (The Hard Costs)

  • Attorney’s fees (yours and your lender’s if applicable)
  • Appraisal
  • Credit Report Fee
  • Loan origination fee (covers lender’s administrative costs)
  • Recording fees
  • Plot Plan or Survey fee
  • Title insurance (yours and your lender’s)
  • Loan discount points
  • Any documentation preparation fees

Pre-Paid Items:

  • Property taxes (to cover tax period to date)
  • Interest (paid from date of closing to the following first of the month)
  • First payment to escrow account for future real estate taxes and insurance
    • 3…

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So Why Do Mortgage Rates Change So Much??

Have you ever called a mortgage company and received a quote and then called back the next day and the same rate was no longer available??

Mortgage companies and borrowers are subject to potential daily and even hourly shifts in the market. Interest rates fluctuate on the simple principal of supply and demand.   Global 1

Mortgage rates trade based on Mortgage Back Securities and The Bond Markets as well as the overall economy.  The vehicles that mortgage rates are based on are considered very conservative, stable and tend not to have the wild swings that one would find in the Stock Market.  If the Stock market begins to see large increases or decreases, Investors will shift Billions of dollars in and out of the Stock Market and move them in to the Mortgage Markets.  This will cause mortgage rates to either rise or fall.  Stock Market tanks, good news for Mortgage Rates, Stock Market rallies and rates suffer.   Investors and Traders will constantly shift funds out of the riskier stocks into the safe haven of the mortgage markets.  These shifts can occur as little as once a day or in some cases can happen multiple times during a trading day. Thus causing mortgage rates to possibly change multiple times in a day.

These markets are affected globally as well; so even after the markets are closed in US, whatever is happening in Europe, Asia and around the world will cause our markets to move one way or the other.

Here are some of the variables that are being watched in today’s market:

  • Iraq and Middle East
  • China’s Economy
  • The US Housing Market
  • Unemployment in our Country
  • The Price of Oil and Gas
  • The “Feds” decision to move short term interest rates
  • The overall health of the US Economy

Any of these items can trigger a rally one way or another.  Even a simple comment at a breakfast meeting by the President, the Fed Chairman or someone in power is enough to influence the markets.

Additional Mortgage Rate and Index Information:

To help us understand why mortgage rates change, it is important to realize that there is not one interest rate, but multiple ones. Below are some of the most prevalent interest rates and indexes that also have an impact on mortgage rates:

Prime rate – This rate is often offered to a bank’s best customers. If you are shopping for a home equity line of credit, then it is important to familiarize yourself with the prime rate. HELOCs are typically based upon the prime rate -plus or minus a certain percentage.

LIBOR – Stands for London Inter-bank Offered Rates. Libor rates are based upon the rates that a select group of London Banks offer each other for inter-bank deposits. Many adjustable rate mortgage programs use the Libor index.

Treasury bill rates ”T-bills” and Treasury Notes – These are short-term and intermediate debt instruments used by our Government to finance their debt. The treasury index is based upon the auctions of U.S. Treasury bills or on the Treasury’s yield curve. Like the LIBOR index, the U.S. Treasury index is a popular index for adjustable rate mortgage products. Also, the Twelve Month Treasury Average (12 Month MTA) is a popular index which is based upon the twelve month average of the monthly yields of U.S. Treasury securities (maturing in one year). The MTA is a popular choice for option arm mortgage programs.

Treasury Bonds – Unlike T-bills and Treasury Notes, treasury bonds are long-debt instruments. These bonds are used by the U.S. Government to finance its debt.

Cost of Savings Index – often referred to as the COSI index. This index is based upon the annual average of interest rates on World Savings deposit accounts. The average is pulled on the last day of each month.

11th District Cost of Funds – Often referred to as the COFI index – The COFI index is based upon the average of the borrowing cost to member banks of the Home Loan Bank of San Francisco of the 11th District. Unless you are shopping for an option arm mortgage, it is unlikely that your loan will be affected by this rate.

Certificates of Deposit Index – Often referred to as the CODI index – this index is arrived at by calculating the average of the past twelve months rates of 3 month CD rates.

Federal Funds Rate – The fed funds target rate is the rate which federally chartered banking institutions lend balances to other depository banks overnight.

This is a lot of information to weigh each day when calculating mortgage rates.  In general, most Banks, Investors, Lenders etc. will set rates around 10:30am once most of the morning economic reports have been released and the markets have had time to react to the information.  In a calm trading day on Wall Street, these rates would be good for that imagesCA6UKL3Jday.  In a day where lots of Economic reports and World events are occurring, these rates can be reset a few times.  It is important to call your lender or bank often to check on these rates as they can and will change.  It also important not to follow online rate sites that may be posting Average Rates as this information can be old.  The Freddie Mac rates are based on closed loans from last week and an average of .7 Points of fees in the rate. This may give you a range, but not accurate enough to base your mortgage payment on or what is happening today in the markets.

Please leave a comment, email or call me anytime with questions you may have about mortgage programs, rates and to get approved for a mortgage.

Bill Nickerson, PrimeLending, 19 Main Street, Concord MA 01742   NMLS# 4194  www.billnickerson.com  978-273-3227

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